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'They were wearing that green Ireland jersey and when they're wearing that we're all together'

Seamus Coleman was thrilled with the Irish rugby team’s superb victory over New Zealand on Saturday.

Paul Dollery reports from Aarhus, Denmark

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND skipper Seamus Coleman has congratulated the Irish rugby team on their win against New Zealand, adding that he and his team-mates were captivated by Saturday’s dramatic 16-9 victory.

Seamus Coleman Republic of Ireland captain Seamus Coleman training at Ceres Park in Aarhus last night. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Forty-eight hours after Coleman captained the Irish football team to a draw against Northern Ireland at the Aviva Stadium, their rugby counterparts overcame the All Blacks for just the second time in history at the same venue.

Speaking at the pre-match press conference for Ireland’s Uefa Nations League clash with Denmark at Ceres Park in Aarhus this evening (7.45pm Irish time), Coleman heaped praise on Joe Schmidt’s side for their achievement.

“It was great,” the Donegal native said. “We all sat down to watch it and to beat the All Blacks was amazing. We should be very proud. All of the supporters are rightly proud and we were supporting the team. It was a great night for the country.”

While Coleman was reluctant to draw comparisons between two teams competing in different sports, he did admit that the rugby result could inspire Ireland’s football team as they aim to end a dismal year on a high with a positive showing against Denmark.

“Look, it’s two different sports, but we were massively inspired,” said the Everton full-back. “They were wearing that green Ireland jersey and when they’re wearing that we’re all together.

“But we have a job to do now. We have to put in a big performance for ourselves, but we’ve had some big nights ourselves and we’re looking forward to getting back to those big nights.”

Peter O'Mahony celebrates winning Peter O'Mahony was the Irish rugby team's man of the match against New Zealand. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill was also full of praise for the Irish rugby team, the 66-year-old insisting that the country has never been stronger in the game.

“The rugby team are brilliant,” O’Neill said. “It’s the strongest Irish side that I have ever known since I was growing up. No longer these days do you play international rugby and fade with 20 minutes to go. The lads are very, very strong.”

He added: “The lads were watching it, cheering them on, it was really terrific. The moment the big New Zealand boy dropped it in the last minute, the players were all up. It was a fantastic win and it sets them up for the World Cup.”

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Paul Dollery

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